Turn up the heat in your data center

With summer approaching, IT departments are starting to worry about cooling data centers. But one energy expert says not to worry too much.

Though most companies keep data centers a lot cooler, many of them will be fine at 80 degrees Fahrenheit, Bill Weihl, Google’s “green energy czar,” told attendees at the recent Green:Net conference in San Francisco. That’s the temperature Google keeps its server rooms.

Lower temperatures are necessary, Weihl said, because companies often don’t have good control over their airflow. He suggests keeping the cold air used for cooling separate from the hot air generated after servers are cooled. This can be done by aligning the rows of servers so that their fronts and backs face each other.

Weihl also recommends checking the rated inlet temperature for hardware. If the server says it can handle 90 degrees, temperatures can be turned up to 85 or even 88, he says.